Posted on February 2, 2010 · Posted in Brain Injury

A member of the House Judiciary Committee Monday blasted the Southeastern Conference and the Big 12 over their policies regarding student athletes and concussions, according to the Associated Press.

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., levied the criticism during a hearing in Houston on head injuries and college football. Specifically, Cohen questioned why major college football conferences had not adopted rules on dealing with concussions that went beyond what the National Collegiate Athletic Association requires, according to AP.

During the hearing, Cohen raised the question during his discussion with Ron Courson, who is director of sports medicine at the University of Georgia and part of the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports.

Cohen “seemed incensed,” according to AP, when Courson said that none of the conferences had tougher regulations regarding concussions than the minimums mandated by the NCAA.

Cohen accused the college athletic programs of caring about “money, money, money,” AP reported.

On Monday there was also testimony by Texans guard Chester Pitts, who told the committee that he hopes his 3-year-old son Chester III never plays pro football, The Houston Chronicle reported in a very comprehensive story.
Pitts said that NFL football was “too rough a game,” according to the Chronicle. He played 112 NFL games without missing a start.

Pitts testified that he sustained his worst head injury while playing for San Diego State, and that the team hid his helmet to stop him from returning to the game, the Chronicle reported.

And former Rice University running back Trevor Cobb testified Monday that he had at least six concussions when he was playing football in high school, Rice and the NFL.

Monday’s hearing, held at the Prairie View A&M; College of Nursing, was the third one held by the House committee on brain injury and sports. It dealt with high school and college athletes. The first two hearings dealt with the NFL and its policies regarding concussions and players.

Neuropathologist Dr. Bennett Omalu, co-founder and director of the Brian Injury Research Instistute of West Virginia University, also testified in Houston Monday. He is a pioneer in linking concussions from football to permanent brain damage in players.

Omalu recommended that youths under 18, whose brains are still developing, should not be allowed to play until at least three months after concussion, so they won’t sustain permanent brain damage from additional hits on the field, the Houston Chronicle reported.

About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447